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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

FRA should require railroads to cover debris-carrying cars, Schumer says

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) recently wrote to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and New York & Atlantic Railway requesting the launch of a safety investigation into reports that uncovered freight cars are dropping loose debris on MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) tracks and damaging local residents’ property.

Schumer called on the FRA to mandate that any freight cars carrying loose debris through densely populated urban and suburban communities be covered. At least two automobiles recently were damaged by pieces of scrap metal that appeared to have been transported on LIRR tracks by freight trains moving uncovered cars, he said in a prepared statement, adding that there also have been numerous complaints that loose debris has fallen on private property near the tracks.
“The safety implications of uncovered debris traveling on commuter transit lines are too numerous to count,” said Schumer. “Whether it is damage to private property surrounding the tracks or potential obstruction on commuter-rail lines that carry hundreds of thousands of people in and out of New York City every day, carrying loose debris, uncovered in freight cars, is a dangerous recipe for disaster and it must be stopped, now.”
New York and Atlantic Railway has a contract with LIRR to operate freight trains on the commuter-rail line during off-peak hours. In his letter, Schumer requested that the railroad immediately implement a voluntary policy of covering open freight cars when traveling in highly populated areas.

If New York and Atlantic Railway refuses to do so, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and LIRR should stipulate that the cars be covered as a requisite for continued use of the commuter-rail line, Schumer said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/22/2012